A former USDA employee who resigned after a video surfaced of her talking about a white farmer told CNN on Tuesday that the administration “wasn’t interested in hearing the truth.”
Shirley Sherrod, who resigned Monday as the department’s former state director of rural development for Georgia, told CNN she had four calls telling her the White House wanted her to resign. She was driving at the time, she said, and the last call asked her to pull to the side of the road and offer her resignation.
Her resignation came after media outlets aired the video, in which Sherrod, speaking to an audience, says she did not give the white farmer “the full force of what I could do” to help him avoid foreclosure.
Sherrod told CNN on Tuesday the incident she discusses in the clip took place more than two decades ago, and she recounted it to an audience to make the point that people should move beyond race.
“I was telling the story of how working with him helped me to see the issue is not about race,” she said. “It’s about those who have versus those who do not have.”
Sherrod said Tuesday that her remarks were taken out of context.
“I was speaking to that group, like I’ve done many groups, and I tell them about a time when I thought the issue was race and race only,” Sherrod said on CNN’s “American Morning” from her home in Albany, Georgia. The incident took place in 1986, while she worked for a nonprofit and before she joined the Agriculture Department, she said.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a statement applauding her resignation.
“That hurts, because if you look at my history … I’ve done more to advance the causes of civil rights in this area than some of them who are sitting in those positions now in the NAACP,” Sherrod said. “They need to learn something about me. They need to know what I’ve contributed over the years.”
Sherrod resigned Monday after conservative media outlets aired the video, in which she says she did not give the white farmer “the full force of what I could do” to help him avoid foreclosure.